Depression

Medications for Depression, Psychosis Overused in VA Long-Term Care Facilities

Non-Pharmacologic Approaches Being Tested, More Data Gathered By Annette M. Boyle PITTSBURGH – Antidepressants and antipsychotic medications are being overused or prescribed inappropriately for residents of VA Community Living Centers (CLCs), according to recent research. That problem is especially significant… Read More

VA Seeks Increased Mental-Health Staff to Respond to Growing Needs Among Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON —VA’s announcement that 1,900 mental-health staff will be added to its roster is more reactive than proactive, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told legislators at a recent hearing.   “A certain number of folks walk in the… Read More

With Increase in Bipolar Patients the VA Tackles Medication Side Effect Issues

By Steve Lewis BOSTON–Headlines may focus on mental-health issues such as schizophrenia, often related to veteran homelessness or even violent behavior, but bipolar disorder actually is increasing far faster at the VA and can be especially challenging to treat because… Read More

Servicemembers Lose Benefits after Improper Discharges for Alleged Personality Disorders

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — The U.S. military continues to use improper processes to diagnose significant numbers of servicemembers with pre-existing personality disorders (PD) and then discharge them, according to government documents obtained by an advocacy group. The Vietnam Veterans… Read More

Can Virtual Reality Help Veterans Avoid As Well As Recover from PTSD?

By Stephen Spotswood  BETHESDA, MD — Research rooted in treating trauma in the civilian sector is examining how a combination of pharmaceuticals and virtual reality can help combat veterans recover more swiftly from chronic PTSD. Barbara Rothbaum, PhD, director of… Read More

More Opioid Prescriptions Adverse Effects for Vets With PTSD

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Veterans with PTSD are more likely than others to be prescribed opioids for post-injury pain, and that can lead to an increase in adverse mental and physical effects, according to a recent VA study.  “Iraq… Read More

Advocates say 40 percent of Vets Seek Counseling From Clergy and VA Partnership Could Help

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — According to VA statistics, four out of 10 veterans with mental-health challenges seek assistance from clergy — more than all other types of mental-health providers combined. Veteran advocates and researchers maintain, however, that VA has… Read More

Telemental Health Services Benefit Native Veterans

 WASHINGTON — After American Indian and Alaska Native veterans initially tried telemental health services, their use of any health services significantly increased, as did the proportion receiving psychotropic medication, a new study found.1 Telemental Health Services is the provision of… Read More

Claims Deadline Extended for Undiagnosed Gulf War Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Continuing a pattern of easing the way for Gulf War veterans to seek care and compensation, VA has extended the presumptive period for them to file claims for benefits for previously undiagnosed illnesses. The change… Read More

Is the VA Mental Health Scheduling System Gamed? Senators Seek Audit

WASHINGTON — Frustrated by the numerous reports of veterans unable to receive timely mental healthcare at VA facilities, legislators have called for the VA Office of the Inspector General to conduct a formal audit of wait times. Sen. Patty… Read More

Suicide Rate Drops but Veterans Still Struggle to Get Mental Health Care

WASHINGTON — Reports about suicide prevention constantly focus on the difficulty veterans have in receiving mental healthcare, even though the suicide rate is dropping. In fact, there is little disagreement that the suicide threat is greatly diminished in veterans who… Read More

VA’s Mental Health Care As Good or Better than Private Sector Study Finds

WASHINGTON — Veterans with mental illness and substance abuse cost nearly three times as much to treat as the average veteran. According to a VA-commissioned study by the RAND Corp. looking at data from one year of care (2007), such… Read More

Study Examines Association Between DHA Levels and Suicide Risk

WASHINGTON, DC — Diet impacts far more than waistlines and the risk of obesity. In fact, the military has been paying close attention to not only the role of nutrition in maintaining physical health, but also how it relates to… Read More

Study: Common Medication Given for PTSD Has No Benefit

WASHINGTON — An antipsychotic medication commonly used by VA to treat combat-related PTSD has been found to have no discernible benefit. Patients taking the drug risperidone (Risperdal) did no better than those taking a placebo, according to a recent VA-run… Read More

Long Wait Times for Mental Health Care Continue to Plague VA

WASHINGTON — Poor coordination and staffing problems were identified as major factors in veterans’ receiving inadequate care at Atlanta VA Medical Center mental-health clinics, according to a VA Inspector General (IG) report released last month. This report is the latest… Read More